Technology and Combat Characteristics
The Blaze ZAKU Phantom is the ZGMF-1001 ZAKU Phantom equipped with the EX-M Blaze Wizard. As a result, the suit has higher mobility in space or on earth due to additional high output thrusters mounted in the Wizard pack. The wizard pack also adds two missile launchers containing large number of AGM138 "Firebee" guided missiles to the ZAKU Phantom's standard armaments.
- Shoulder Shield
- The shoulder shield is a distinctive feature of the ZAKU series. Unlike most mobile suit shields which are mounted or held by the left hand, the shields of the ZAKU series are mounted on the shoulder, leaving both hands free to hold weapons. Large enough to protect the torso the shield also serves as a storage unit for the beam tomahawk and for two spare energy clips for the beam rifle. The ZAKU Phantom possesses two shoulder shields.
- MA-M8 Beam Tomahawk
- While other suits usually use beam sabers for close combat, the ZAKU Phantom instead uses a beam tomahawk which can be thrown quite easily, granting it limited ranged combat abilities. When not in use, the tomahawk is stored inside a physical shield, which is mounted on the shoulder. The ZAKU Phantom possesses two beam tomahawks as it has two shoulder shields.
- Hand Grenade
- The ZAKU series of mobile suits is equipped with four hand grenades, two mounted on each side skirt armor. The grenades are mid-range explosives that are used in the same manner as ordinary grenades. Though the ZAKU can only equip four grenades there are five models that can be equipped in various combinations.
- MMI-M633 Beam Assault Rifle
- The primary ranged weapon of the ZAKU Phantom is an MMI-M633 beam assault rifle, which unlike most beam rifles does not draw power from the mobile suit's battery. Instead, the rifle has its own independent battery, stored in a replaceable clip (similar to the technology used in the Eurasian Federation's CAT1-X Hyperion series), with a pair of extra clips attached to each shield mounted on the suit's shoulder. When not in use, this weapon could be stored on the back waist armor.
- AGM138 "Firebee" Missile Launcher
- The Blaze Wizard pack contains a pair of AGM138 "Firebee" missile launchers, each of which contains 14 missiles.
- M66 "Canus" Short-range Guided Missile Launcher
- The M66 "Canus" short-range guided missile launcher is armed with 4 missiles, 2 externally mounted large missiles and 2 small missiles within the launcher. The large missiles are slow and therefore unsuitable for combat against nimble targets that can easily avoid them.
Special Equipment & Features
- Wizard Pack Hardpoint
As with the ZGMF-1000 ZAKU Warrior, the ZAKU Phantom can also be equipped with the Blaze Wizard pack, which is also the most common used of the packs. As a result, at least three ZAFT ace pilots use a ZAKU Phantom equipped with this pack. Since the suit was designed for commanders and ace pilots, many of these pilots painted their suit in personal colors, while the standard color-scheme was green.
One of these aces is ZAFT red Rey Za Burrel, who piloted a custom white colored suit and belonged to the crew of the new battleship LHM-BB01 Minerva. When the ZAFT colony Armory One was attacked by the Earth Alliance's Phantom Pain special forces, Rey was thrown early in conflict when the Minerva pursued the special forces unit after it had stolen three Gundam prototypes. During the pursue, Rey fought several times against Neo Roanoke in his TS-MA4F Exus although none of them managed to damage the other. When the Second Alliance-PLANT War broke out, the Minerva traveled across Earth's oceans to ZAFT's Gibraltar Base. During this time, the ship was attacked several times by Earth Alliance forces, as well as their new Orb Union allies. Rey and his Blaze ZAKU Phantom served as a stationary gun turret for the ship. Rey's suit was eventually critically damaged in a last battle against the joint EA/Orb forces near Crete. Luckily for Rey, he could switch to the newer and more powerful ZGMF-X666S Legend.
Another custom colored orange Blaze ZAKU Phantom was used by ace Heine Westenfluss, who used his suit in the first space battle against the EA shortly after declaration of war. During this battle Heine was able to destroy even ships with the light weapons of his suit. He eventually switched to the newly developed ZGMF-X2000 GOUF Ignited, which was painted in the same orange scheme as his former Blaze ZAKU Phantom.
Former ZGMF-1000/A1 Gunner ZAKU Warrior pilot Dearka Elsman also piloted a custom black painted Blaze ZAKU Phantom during the last weeks of the war in battles against the EA forces defending the relay stations of the Requiem superweapon and the battle around the Mobile Space Fortress Messiah. During this battle, Dearka's suit was shot in the leg, although he survived without injuries.
The last known pilot of a Blaze ZAKU Phantom was the ZGMF-X88S Gaia Gundam's test pilot, Riika Sheder, who used a ZAKU Phantom after the Gaia was stolen to help Jess Rabble and Courtney Heironimus fight against several GAT-SO2R N Dagger N. She also used her suit later to escort a shuttle carrying Edward Harrelson and Bernadette Leroux to the EA. During the exchange however, the shuttle was attacked by the ZGMF-YX21R Proto-Saviour, whom Riika in her suit and Morgan Chevalier in his Exus fought. Ultimately the Proto Saviour was driven away by Jean Carry.